Roses & Lipstick is an online retailer, primarily selling headscarves to Muslim women on the internet. Okay, so how is that relevant to me, I hear you ask? Well, what they do really well is lifestyle marketing, creating a brand around quirky, modest fashion and giving out free tips and advice about how to look good and keep up with this season’s latest trends and funkiest colours.
This means regardless of whether you actually wear the hijab or not, you engage with them, you like their posts on Instagram and you read their blogs, because they provide interesting and useful content for fashionistas.
In fact, you really don’t need to wear a headscarf at all to find their content relevant, as there’s plenty of juicy tidbits about how to put together the boldest of fashion trends, at high street prices.
It’s something that big fashion brands as well as small businesses could learn from. Don’t forget that your audience doesn’t just consist of the people who wear your product. By creating engaging content, you become the go-to brand when say, someone wants to buy a gift for a friend. Or when a friend of a friend asks where they can buy a trendy scarf from. Effective content marketing amplifies word-of-mouth and increases brand awareness.
In this post, I’m going to look at what Roses & Lipstick does well, and hopefully provide some useful pointers for other small businesses who want to understand more about how to use Instagram and blogging to promote their brand.
1. You don’t need a big budget to do content marketing. You just need to be interesting.
When globally recognised brands think about content marketing, they might create a high-budget video or a specialised microsite or even a social game or app. This is fine, but it’s not necessarily something small businesses can afford to do.
Roses & Lipstick simply uses Instagram, blogs and Facebook to create engaging content. But before you write or post anything, ask yourself, why would anyone care about what I’ve written? Ultimately, your content needs to be relevant to your key audience. For example, the Roses & Lipstick website includes a lookbook, a simple but effective idea, which allows customers to see to to get the most out of their hijab purchases, so that they can pair the headscarf with stylish outfits.
Crucially, the team behind the company understands their audience; it’s the modern Muslim woman, the woman who wants to wear hijab, but also look good and keep up with the latest fashion trends.
2. Make sure you have something to say.
Too often, businesses will see others using Instagram, blogging or Facebook and think “this is something we really need to be doing!” without thinking about the why or the how. Think about your product: is it visually appealing? If your product looks good and photographs well, then by all means, use sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
Blogging can also be an effective tool, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you need to continually provide content for your readers, particularly if you’ve got something to sell. There’s nothing worse than writing a few posts and then finding you have nothing to say. And if you’re going to give tips about fashion, you need to be reading the latest magazines and blogs, as well as understanding the newest trends this season.
Roses & Lipstick has its own blog, aptly named Good Veil Hunting. As mentioned, you don’t need to wear a hijab to read this blog and find it interesting. For example, the blog provides tips about how to wear citrus brights, don a poncho effectively and go vintage shopping in East London.
3. Be aspirational.
The fashion industry is constantly criticised for promoting images of unhealthy young women, and if you think about it, this really goes against all the principles of openness promoted by the internet and social media.
Roses & Lipstick is aspirational because it uses real images of real people wearing affordable clothing that you can buy on the high street. This shows that anyone can afford to look good; it’s just about putting together outfits in a unique way and being a bit creative.
This is something the big fashion brands could learn from. After all, who wants to see images of unhealthy models, setting unrealistic goals for young women? Be real, be authentic and make your product accessible to your audience.
Furthermore, Roses & Lipstick’s main blogger, Sarah is a mum, which is inspiring because it shows that having a baby doesn’t mean that your life is over or that you can no longer look fabulous and funky.
In an Instagram post, Sarah’s says she “refuses to look like I’ve jumped out of bed on the school run”. That’s quite inspiring to those of us who have just had a baby. 😉
This personal styling blog post about rediscovering fashion after motherhood is a perfect example of how brands can grow with their customers and their changing lifestyles.
4. Make the most of the talents in your team.
Roses & Lipstick is run by three sisters, who each have their own role within the business. Sarah, a journalist by trade, runs the blog. Because the blog is run by an experienced professional, the content is well-written, genuinely interesting and engaging. The photographs featured in Roses & Lipstick’s lookbook are taken by Farah Mirza, a professional photographer. And the model featured in the majority of the shots? Well, that’s middle sister, Zaynab Mirza, who’s effectively the face of the brand.
It’s important to consider that the marketing tools you use need to be adapted according to the talents in your team. If you’ve got someone who genuinely enjoys blogging and can write well, then make the most of it. On the other hand, you may decide blogging just isn’t your bag. That’s fine. Don’t use a particular tool just because everyone else is. Use what works well for your product and your team.
5. Use events to create content.
We all have rough days and writer’s block. But if you’re going to run a blog, think of innovative ways to generate content. Covering events is an effective way of finding something to write about.
As a final note, remember that while social media tools are undoubtedly effective, there is life beyond Facebook. For example, the humble email newsletter is still effective for sending out regular updates to customers and brand advocates. And don’t forget, it’s not just about the internet. There’s a whole breadth of marketing tools out there, on and offline.